There are those that fast travel, and those that don't. Raised voices broke out in Push Square Towers this week when Robert Ramsey revealed that he walks everywhere in Fallout 4. This led to Sammy Barker using words that can't be repeated on these hallowed pages. The result: a poll to the death to determine who the real crazy person here is. Below we present our arguments, and the opportunity for you to decide our fates.
Sammy Barker, Editor
I like a nice walk. Stretching one's legs in the real-world delivers a delicious dopamine hit which can be calming, uplifting, and mind clearing. I don't, however, have time to comb every single inch of muddy textured terrain in your latest Speedtree-populated open world game. I enjoy a bit of virtual tourism as much as the next guy, but once I've taken the winding path from Sanctuary to Spectacle Island, you can bet your souped-up Power Armour that I ain't doing it again.
I understand the argument for immersion in sandbox games, but you're going to have to ensure that your world is really, really good if you're going to make me manually travel from one end of it to the other over and over again. Some may argue that I'm missing out on the best of the Commonwealth by jumping about Fallout 4 like a backpacker with a jetpack, to which I'd respond: what? I can do without another firefight against a Super Mutant with an explosive American Football, thank you – especially when I'm following Preston's instructions to save a settlement for the umpteenth time.
There are some games that do it better than others, of course; I remember wandering the wilderness in Red Dead Redemption, saving distressed damsels that happened to apparate on my map. But once you've been coaxed into an ambush once, you've seen it all – apart from the gigantic expanses of desert and dandelions that stand in the way between you and your next objective.
And for as dynamic as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt can be at times, I've never felt the need to repeat samey journeys until my brain bursts of boredom. Roach is a mover, of that there's no doubt, but if you think that you're going to get me to ride between Crookback Bog and Crow's Perch multiple times just so that I can get into a scuffle with Drowners, then you've got another thing coming. There's a sign right there and I only need click on it to save my sanity. The question is: why wouldn't I?
Robert Ramsey, Associate Editor
Fast travelling in big open world games to me is like denying yourself the point of playing an open world game. I get that a lot of players don't have the time to walk, run, or sprint from one side of the map to the other, but I'd argue that you're missing out on a lot of the fun; you're missing out on one of the most meaningful aspects of open world design.
Let's take a look at Bethesda titles, for starters. If I fast travelled everywhere in Fallout 4, I'd miss out on a ton of random events and crazy stuff. Some of the most unbelievable things that I've seen in the Commonwealth have happened while I've just been wandering from one place to the next. I've seen Deathclaws duking it out, only for an entire Brotherhood of Steel platoon to land and start pumping them full of lasers. The fight got so chaotic that a Super Mutant raiding party caught a whiff of combat and came over to say hello. It's dynamic stuff like this that you don't see if you just leap from one location to the next.
It's about immersion, too, of course. If I'm playing The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and Geralt's got to gallop across the map to complete a monster hunting contract, riding there is part of the experience for me – the journey can and usually will enhance the feeling that you're on a grand quest. Setting off early in the morning, navigating an old, worn path on the way to a horrible beast's lair, and then fighting it as the sun goes down is what it's all about. I feel like I'm part of a game's world when I'm happily exploring it – not when I'm looking at a loading screen.
Have I ever fast travelled in a game? Of course I have, but only when a quest has forced me to go halfway across the game's world and then back again. I think a big part of all of this is how invested you are in the experience, and how good the game world's design is. If you're presented with a map that's got next to nothing in it, you're going to be tempted to fast travel because walking back and forth between key areas becomes tedious. But with open world games now being as advanced as they are, I'd much rather get an eyeful of what the developer has put so much effort into creating.
Do you fast-travel whenever you're given the opportunity, or do you manually travel everywhere in big open world games? Pick a side in the poll, and then share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Do you generally fast travel in open world games? (112 votes)
- Yes, of course – only crazy people walk everywhere67%
- No way, man – it’s more fun making your own way33%
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